Originally created 05/03/04

Not a day too soon



How much of a sacrifice did the World War II generation make for mankind?

Consider: If you had an audio program announcing the names of all the 400,000 Americans who died in the war, each name would come up but twice a year.

So how is it we waited nearly 60 years to thank the "Greatest Generation" in the beautiful memorial that opened last week on the Washington Mall? Was the Iwo Jima statue supposed to do it? Was the World War II generation too modest to pitch a fit - or just too busy working and financing the Cold War?

Regardless, it's about time!

Fact is, when we finally decided to do it - with only $16 million in taxpayer money for the $172 million project - we realized time was of the essence. The American Battle Monuments Commission realized, for instance, that between last week and the official dedication Memorial Day weekend, we would be losing some 1,200 WWII veterans each day.

It only made sense to open the memorial early, since it was finished ahead of schedule.

After all, the Greatest Generation had waited long enough.